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Saturday 16 December 2017

Louis van Gaal worried he’s losing the fans after lacklustre Burnley win

Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal walks off the pitch after the Barclays Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester
Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal walks off the pitch after the Barclays Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester

A rocky week for Van Gaal continued last night as his United team had to battle their way to an unconvincing 3-1 win over Burnley, thanks to two goals from Chris Smalling and a Robin van Persie penalty.

United were slow and lacked creativity in attack and Van Gaal admitted he fears the support he has received from the club’s fans may be ebbing away.

“I heard the first whistles,” the United boss said. “That is a concern because we are playing for the fans. The fans are the most important part of the club.”

In fairness, large portions of the crowd sang Van Gaal’s name during the match, but the Dutchman is right to be worried after last night’s showing. His team were very poor against a Burnley side that only cost a fraction of what he has spent in the last eight months.

Part of the reason why United were so slow on the attack was the fact that Rooney was pushed into a defensive midfield role in the second half after Daley Blind hobbled off following a clash of heads.

 Van Gaal opted to play substitute Ander Herrera and Angel Di Maria as the middle two players in a diamond midfield, with Rooney sitting behind them. With United so poor up front, moving Rooney – the third-highest scorer in the club’s history – into attack would seem a plausible move, but Van Gaal thinks his team play better with Rooney in midfield. Van Gaal said: “I have to look for the better balance and I think until now because of Rooney we have a better balance in midfield.

“I was very pleased how he replaced Daley Blind in the number six position. He showed composure and of course he was also today the Rooney that I want to see but he has showed that he can play in every position.

“Maybe he can better play in a striker’s position but then I have a problem in midfield.”

Van Gaal said Blind had only suffered a “headache” following an aerial clash and revealed Phil Jones, who lasted less than five minutes, suffered a knee injury which will be assessed.

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